ep: 39 Chris Scott – Founder of Fit Recovery, a website that helps people use nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle strategies to fill in the “missing links” in their recovery programs and transcend alcohol. Author of Drinking Sucks! and co-host of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, alongside Matt Finch of Opiate Addiction Support.
Drinking Sucks! – https://www.amazon.com/dp/0692185674/?ref=exp_loc_pl_rushtechsupport
Sober Since: Mid-2014
Welcome to the self made and sober podcast. I’m your host, Andrew Lassise and with me today is the fitness recovery expert, Chris Scott. He’s written a book called Drinking Sucks, which I think is the perfect title for anything recovery related when you get down and blunt like that. He’s got a podcast called elevation recovery, which is absolutely incredible. Definitely be sure to check that out. His websites fit recovery. Chris is an awesome person with so much to offer. I’m so happy to have you on the show. Chris, how are you doing? Andrew? Thank you. That’s a very generous introduction. I’m
really happy to be here.
Yeah, so you’ve been sober since 2014. But I know your date is kind of a amorphous mid 2014. So why don’t you give us a little explanation on what’s mid 2014 looking like for you?
That’s correct. So 2014 was generally a blur. And in retrospect, I can generally connect the dots of what happened going back to most of 2015. But I had really had a series of events that made me realize that it was necessary for me to finally quit drinking. I had had a long slow build up to the point where I was drinking a handle of vodka each day like clockwork. And I got to the point where I couldn’t go two hours without drinking. Even in the middle of the night. I remember getting up once and having to chug a bottle of bitters, just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. And, you know, to make a long story short, I adjust I’d had dozens or hundreds of failed attempts, some successful tapers, you know, tapering down from from a fifth to half a fifth to a bottle of wine that some beers and getting off I’d make it about a week, and then someone would throw a party. You know, I remember going to a wonderful couples house. They had been engaged and I had been alcohol free. for five days, and I bought a six pack of root beer, and of course I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. So they thought I was being silly. And they literally took the six pack out of my hand replaced it with a bunch of bud lights. And that was it. I was on a bender for the next couple months, basically. So I gotten sick of it. Unfortunately, I waited so long that I needed to have professional help detoxing off of alcohol, I had some some hallucinations, probably seizures, I didn’t know, you know what they were and I don’t want to self diagnose, but it was likely I was getting to that end stage of alcohol addiction. And so I just showed up basically on a treatment center store and said, this is it. I gave up. And I told my closest family members and friends, and they were all super supportive. And that’s really even though things were blurry for a while. After that. I that was the turning point for me.
Yeah, that mentality of surrender to win. And that’s one of the things that one of my mentors in 12 steps he had instilled in me early on is that You don’t have to keep fighting this thing over and over and over. Like when you give up. There is power in giving up. And I think, you know, society, it’s like, never give up, never stopped Fighting, Always Keep Fighting. It’s like, I’m not getting any better. By doing this, my life is continuing to get worse. So how did you? How did you juggle the I want to take control the situation and the idea of just giving up what’s going through your head.
I had to be compassionate to myself, until I got to the point where I could fight for folks that we’re worthy of fighting for fighting against a alcohol addiction. Whether you believe it’s a permanent spiritual disease or a coping mechanism for trauma or a physical addiction or a neural pathway or a biochemical imbalance, you’re not going to win. And in early recovery, I think that surrender mentality is necessary. And it can be kind of cathartic to stop fighting as they say and I was I had a interesting conversation with with an MD who treats people with alcohol addiction recently. And he said the thing, the reason why you feel so bad, so defeated, at least one of them in early recovery is that you have these inflammatory cytokines flowing through your body. And you essentially have the same immune response that you would get when you have the flu. No, and what good is it to try to fight the flu, like everyone knows that if you have the flu, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym for three hours and try to beat it, you know, maybe a light sweat would help. But so I think it really is good to frame it as a an illness in the short term, to treat yourself in the same way that you would treat someone in your close family or circle of friends if they were really sick. And then you can build yourself back for backup from there. And when you start regaining the mental clarity to articulate goals for yourself that are worth pursuing, then you can get back into warrior mode. And that’s kind of what I did. It took me months to get back into warrior mode
and What are your thoughts on the alcohol is a disease versus alcohol is? You know, it’s a matter of willpower, alcoholism, not alcohol. You know, it’s a matter of willpower like why why can’t this guy just just, you know, chill? What’s your thoughts on that the disease and self control?
Yeah, this is one of the hardest questions. And I think it would be arrogant for me to present the end all be all answer for this question. But I have done a good amount of thinking and I’ve come to the conclusion that, first of all, alcohol addiction is as complex as people are. And it says complex is human nature itself and as complex as our biochemistry. We still don’t totally understand human nature or our biochemistry. We know that alcohol addiction by definition, intertwines itself, into our brains into our biochemical balance or lack thereof into our identity. Since you are Emotional lives or social attachment. So spiritual identity. So you can’t really answer that question without having a definitive answer to what’s, what exactly is going on. And all of those places what I found to be more helpful. And I should say, I don’t view alcohol addiction as a disease, per se, I see it as a neural pathway that’s really stubborn, that’s grown strong, like an oak, combined with biochemical imbalances combined with whatever else may be going on in a person’s life. But, you know, I wanted to say, what’s more important than that disease label or not having a disease label is that you find a way to frame your narrative that works for you. And for me, it’s helpful to view my addiction as a phase of my life and alcohol as an exhausted resource, rather than to frame this as a perpetual ongoing journey. You know, I watched a an interview with a famous actor from the 70s Richard Burton, maybe he’s very charismatic, but he he framed his alcohol addiction as a lifelong boxing match in which he could be knocked out with no advance notice. So anytime. And I thought if I had framed my condition will call it in that way I don’t think I would have made it out of early recovery because I would have thrown my hands up and said, What’s the point? So I think it’s more important than the labels we decided to acquiesce in for ourselves that are thrown at us from doctors. And obviously the establishment, the medical establishment sees alcohol addiction as a disease. I think what’s more important is the way we frame our own personal journey and finding something that works, whether it’s in that biochemical arena or psychologically, socially, spiritually. I think those are the main pillars that that are important to address. And once you find something that works and you start feeling better than Who cares what it was, it’s all semantics at that point.
I love That you look more at the results and not so much at the, well, this is what it’s supposed to be like, it’s no secret in my life, I’m a big part, I have an affinity towards 12 step recovery. And at the same time, I know that that’s not the only way. And there’s plenty of people who have been introduced to it said they didn’t like it and then tried something different. And you know, who am I to say, you’re not actually happy because you’re not practicing the 12 steps in your daily life. But a lot of people have that mindset of like it is this way, or else you are wrong. And if you think you’re happy, you’re lying to yourself, and everybody should be doing 12 step recovery. I believe there’s an ounce of truth to it. But I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of different ways that you can get sober and if at the end of the day, we’re all fighting the same battle and all want the same result. I don’t think that the mini you know, the money grow in between of what you do on your day to day, whether what you do works for you. And what I do works for me if we’re fighting the same battle and winning the same war, I don’t think that it matters as much. I think if you’re going to do it, you should do it and not have one foot in one foot out. But what is success looks like for you in your day to day for staying sober.
Well, first of all, I think I just want to say, I think it’s really awesome that you have that mindset, because it’s almost, you know, we live in an increasingly polarized society in many different ways. And so, you know, the vegans can’t talk to the carnivores and the liberals can’t talk to the conservatives. And now like in this niche, I guess, or in this in this place of recovery, digital recovery, I would call it I The last thing I would want to see is for it to devolve into a war between a people and nine eight people. I think that you know, having a compassionate view of everyone’s journey is the is the Deal. But to answer your question, on a day to day basis, my life now is totally unrecognizable from anything that I thought would have been possible when I quit drinking. And I guess, you know, in a they maybe they call that the promises, you know of sobriety. And it’s surreal. It feels like I stepped into an alternate universe, you know, my life isn’t perfect. It’s not all verses and unicorns and rainbows, but the amount of mental clarity I have compared to before, the ease with which I do things that used to be really, really hard. One of the hallmarks of my early recovery was that getting out of bed was hard for like months. And for me, my thing was, I discovered supplementation, I discovered diet changes. And those were the things that I thought should be universal for everyone until I developed the more nuanced version of my belief system and more open minded as we said, but you know, I think it’s relevant for me to mention the supplementation. holistic emphasis, because once I started doing those things, that’s when my day to day life, I started being able to more easily integrate things that were good for me long term, and to switch my dopamine attachment from short term escapism via alcohol to long term fulfillment and joy. You know, so there’s a difference between pleasure and happiness. And something clicked in my brain at some point. And I was able to start doing those things going to the gym was no longer at shore or an application. starting a business was no longer some elusive dream that some lucky people got to do, that I would never be able to do because I was stuck. I was a corporate slave is that’s how I framed it working in finance at the time and often being asked at 6pm to stay overnight and work on a financial model. So yeah, hopefully that answers your question. I mean, on a day to day basis, I have the gym. I’m always thinking about how to improve optimize my life. holistically, I’ve kind of latched on to the term bio hacker, which is silly but fun. But I also get a tremendous amount of fulfillment out of helping people going through a similar journey, and especially people in early recovery. I’ve hundreds of people in my online course. And I spend one to two hours every morning responding to people, you know, typically, I’d say six days a week, I’m in there first thing in the morning, and it makes me grateful that I have been able to get to the place that I’ve gotten to because I can help people. And obviously I don’t have all the answers, but you know, I have fulfillment on a daily basis. And you know, I have connections with people in my community that I didn’t have. I look forward to seeing the manager at my favorite Indian restaurant. I have a weird spicy food obsession. You know, I have I love seeing the people that I do yoga with even though I’m not like close friends with them, but you know, it’s it’s night and day from isolating myself and alcohol addiction to having fulfillment, health and also connections with people that I didn’t have before because I never really looked for them.
And now that you have your eyes open to connections, what are some Do you have any examples? Maybe that stand out other than obviously the the guy at the Indian restaurant, which I can relate to i, we have a guy over here. He’s like a Indian version of Bart Simpson, not a poo. But Indian Bart Simpson. That’s awesome. What he looks like is kind of funny. But you have any examples of where that maybe in the past, you would have taken a certain direction with a relationship with someone and then in this new phase of your life, with different outlook, you took a different journey and how that played out. Are there any examples that come to mind?
Well, I was I should say, first that I was really lucky to have a solid group of core friends when I quit drinking. And this kind of defies maybe common experience. Or so I’m not sure how many people would relate to this. But these guys were my drinking buddies in college, but they were also like my brothers, and they were the first people to be there for me. If I had tried to order a drink three months after I quit drinking at a restaurant or something, when I was out with them, they would have physically interfered and said, No, you’re not doing that, you know, we care about you. So I think it’s, it’s good to I have to mention that I had those confidence. I had that support network. But beyond that, yeah, I think I had when I worked in finance, and I drank pretty much every night. It was like the opportunity cost of doing that was not developing deep connections with people. And now, I it doesn’t seem like a, like a burden to develop a relationship or a friendship with someone. I moved to a different city since I quit drinking. You know, about five years ago, I was in Atlanta, when I quit. And I’ve since moved a different city and a little bit smaller. But I met a great guy about a year ago, we became workout buddies. And it’s kind of a funny golf course type community that we live in there a lot of older people everyone’s super nice, but I didn’t expect to meet someone I could work out with known as 30 years or whatever. And we develop this Saturday routine, which is like yoga Indian food, then we head back to the gym, sauna or steamer hot tub. There we go back to our respective houses and take naps, but he’s what we would call a social drinker. But he’s he’s eating up my material. And it I mean, it’s a huge ego boost for me probably unjustified, but you know, he has a copy of drinking sex. He says he drinks less because of it now and he feels better. I got him into CBD, which is something that I’ve probably controversial, but something that helps me in my daily routine. And so there’s like there and obviously I’ve gotten a lot out of our relationship as well. And you know, just having someone to talk about who has an interesting life experience to you know, that kind of thing. We would not have happened had I not quit drinking. And it’s it’s amazing. The connections once you realize that quitting drinking allows you to be more present in all areas of life after five years, so you can look back and count 10s or dozens of connections that you just wouldn’t have, you wouldn’t know those people, you would walk by them on the street, they would be strangers, and you would still be feeling alone. Whereas you know, now, because of the way things have turned out, you know, however your recovery program has been, you get to have that much more warmth in the world, I guess I would say.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you anymore. And I’d want to jump around a little bit. So you were working in finance, what was the was there a moment where you decided I need to go into entrepreneurship? What’s that looking like in your life?
That was a very slow decision for me because My, I had left a somewhat glamorous finance job in New York to briefly be a business manager for a tech company, which was not the path for me, I quickly realized that and then I ended up back in the traditional, not quite as glamorous as New York but finance route. And everyone was super nice. And I was in Atlanta. And I just there was a spiritual yearning for more, it was totally in a Morpheus, I couldn’t really quantify it or qualify it. I didn’t, all I knew was that I wasn’t happy and that alcohol was better, or it seemed better to me at the time, then my day to day life, which was boring to me. And then I felt guilty because I knew there are people who would still kill for my job. And how arrogant of me to not enjoy something that other other people would kill for. So there was some guilt and some shame there as well. Now, when I by the time I quit, thanks to gotten pretty bad alcohol really affected my work performance until the end. But when it did, it did and I ultimately quit, because I Well, I should say it was a mutual decision. I missed three days of work in a row, which is unacceptable. That’s what I ended up in treatment, had a phone call with my boss at the time, probably a week or two into treatment, still hazy memory, in which I was hoping when he called me that he would tell me that I wasn’t invited back. And that’s exactly what happened. And, you know, honestly, I think since then the stigmas disappeared a little bit. But then that’s when my journey toward entrepreneurship started. Because I had no idea what I was going to do. I just felt relief. I felt there was uncertainty, but it was combined with a kind of cathartic relief, like yes, now I’m done with the alcohol. I have people who are my confidence and support network who can buffer me against alcohol, and I’m done with that career. And now, you know, I could have framed it as now it’s a terrifying journey to see how I screw up my life. Max, but I decided to frame it as now I get to be whoever the hell I want to be. And that was more excited. So I decided, well, what am I good at? fitness, I’d always loved working out, alcoholic shift into that. But I decided I would do it. One of the luxuries of being a trainer is to get to be in the gym all day. So I knew I wouldn’t lose that aspect of recovery, which was already helping me even before I learned about supplements and other strategies. And so eventually, the fitness to make a very long story short morphed into the website, and I was still helping people one on one, you know, for free at first and then that turned into the business of fit recovery. But I was a trainer for a couple of years before that happened.
And what was the real jumping off point where you saw fit recovery? Maybe I’m maybe I’m just projecting my experience, but I had the kind of the side hustle thing going on. And then there were a couple watershed moments that were just like, this isn’t just Andrew in his living room on a computer, helping people out like this is actually a real thing. Did you have any moments that stand out? As far as when fit recovery changed from a kind of fun idea to a real thing?
Yes. And, you know, I almost gave up on fit recovery several times, because my strategy had been to just write as many articles as possible, and hope that Google would see how good they were. And that was a bad strategy. So I had gone through, you know, I did that. Then I wrote an E book. I got a sale after three weeks and I was ecstatic. And and I realized it was my uncle. My mama told him about it. You know, I had that and and then I started getting smart there. I learned about how to write SEO articles, which I don’t think is a good strategy anymore because it’s so saturated, but at the time it was, it was one That traffic started slowly building, you know, going from 200 visitors a week to, you know, 2000. And then and more and more. And, you know, at one point getting up to around 100,000 people just from Google in a month, that was when I realized like this is things are going well. And I can not just liberate myself from the grind of training, which, you know, now, I just framed that as an exciting thing. And it was exciting for a while. But, you know, after a while, my joints started to hurt. And I, I didn’t want to be in there all day, like moving stuff around. And I loved helping people, but I wanted to scale it. And I wanted to increase the magnitude with which I reached people, which I could do more effectively with alcohol recovery than helping someone lose five pounds or whatever. So yeah, it was really seeing that momentum build from the strategies that I implemented and seeing that there was a direct connection between the ones that worked and the results and realizing also let the ad 20 rule comes into play. I mean, for me, it might have even been like 9010 because there’s like most of the things I tried did not work. But the things that did work were what brought me to the next level. And that was really encouraging. So, yeah, I would say it’s just a slow process of organic growth. But, but every now and then there was like a glimmer of, of potential.
And so we we fast forward a little bit. Talk tell us a little bit about elevation recovery here podcast.
So elevation recovery is actually the culmination of my friendship and ally alliance with a guy named Matt Fitch, who’s an awesome guy. He runs a website called opiate addiction support calm, and we found each other online and actually when I was in the process of building fit, recovery, and he had done his website for or he had started at several years before mine I think at this point, he’s like eight or nine years, free from opiates. And he had been addicted to alcohol before that. So he was a bit ahead of the path that I was on. And, you know, so we really helped each other. We did some guided a guest post on his website, he did some on mine to help my website rank a little better, you know, he had better domain ranking than I did. And he was just tremendously helpful and all sorts of ways. I didn’t know much about marketing at the time. So he helped me with that. And we just became really good friends. And we would have these mastermind calls like once a month, and talk about business and what we were doing. Now any new courses, we were making what we were excited about doing, and those mastermind calls eventually morphed into the podcast. And so some of our episodes are basically identical to what our old masterminds used to be. It’s just talking about something. Usually I’m the rapid machine gun style talker and he’s more slow and elected and calm. So, you know, hopefully that that contrast works out and isn’t too confusing for people. But I feel like we have a good vibe. And we also take turns interviewing experts in their niches in anything pertinent to alcohol recovery, and also other people’s recovery stories. So the podcast is just a, it’s yet another way that we’re experimenting with to try to reach more people. And it’s been a lot of fun so far, you had
touched on earlier and I’d like to come back to this about supplements. Do you have any recommendations? As far as supplements go for be in recovery? Or for people that are trying to get I know the answer? It’s it’s a super generic question to a very, very niche. It depends on your circumstances. But is there any kind of general rule of thumb that you would give to just someone on the street says name one or two,
right? So because everyone is biochemically unique, You know, as you said, that’s the disclaimer, some people are on antidepressants and it shouldn’t take amino acid, certain amino acids, you know, so the medications and all that and and obviously I’m not a doctor and or a natural path, but I can tell you what helped me and what had a few that have helped a lot of people. Now obviously be Vita version say, obviously, but B vitamins are very important for alcohol recovery. And if you end up in the hospital with severe withdrawals, they’re going to give you an injection of vitamin b1, which is timing, a deficiency in which can cause wet brain, which is a pretty serious condition and sometimes not reversible. But what I found was that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. vitamins and minerals are very important. Magnesium was really helpful for me. I found that most people tend to be deficient in magnesium it’s possibly depleted from our soil. People aren’t eating enough leafy greens, you can get magnesium Um, you know, oral tablets, magnesium citrate, magnesium three and eight are good options. You want to avoid magnesium oxide, because it doesn’t absorb well, Epsom salt baths are a decent way to get magnesium. But one drink increases the body’s excretion of magnesium by like 70% or 90%. It’s, it’s insane. And most people are deficient anywhere. And it’s involved in 300 bodily processes. So, you know, you can imagine the cascade of effects that happens when you introduce a mineral that you just need for basic functioning, your base, your baseline level of well being goes up. And so that’s just one example. amino acid, so I definitely want to mention as well, D LPA. There are a lot of funny names, but if you look into them, there’s a lot of research behind them. D LPA, or dl phenol alanine contains precursors for endorphins and dope amine el Tibor seen contains a dopamine precursor, five HTTP or l tryptophan. Our serotonin precursors, you know, glutamine is commonly used in bodybuilding. And I stumbled upon that because I wanted to get back in shape and build muscle. But it turns out that it’s also useful for alcohol cravings for sugar cravings for people with hypoglycemia, which is really common and recovery and for repairing the gut lining and for helping the immune system. So those are just a few things. You know, and obviously, it’s, I found one of the heartening things about physical recovery from alcohol addiction is, it seems to be the case that the same compounds and strategies that are helpful to help a normal person bring their life to the next level, are helpful, just in usually larger doses to help to get someone from feeling like total crap, no motivation to feeling well enough to summon the physical energy required to work on whatever psychological or spiritual conundrums they’re facing. And so that’s why I think that this is consistent with 12 step. There are a lot of people who I talked to who are in who go to a, and, you know, we we avoid any debates about the particular, you know, beliefs that that I might personally have a difference with. And we just talked about, alright, well, how can how can restoring physical health help you on your spiritual journey, you know, given your belief system and what you want to do, and usually it’s pretty easy to answer and we just start with some basic things. And it’s a holistic process. So it’s not all about supplements. It’s about sleep. It’s about getting to the gym and eating well, staying hydrated, reducing stress levels, so it’s a supplements are very important, but really, that’s the the tip of the iceberg.
Awesome. Well, Chris, in wrapping up, what one call to action that you have for the people listening to the show that can Help them either in entrepreneurship and being more successful, or something where someone struggling with alcohol to take the next step, what would be your call to action to the audience?
my call to action would be something that if I had heated it would have helped me succeed quicker and probably feel better, quicker. And so I mean, in both business and alcohol recovery, and that’s to connect with people who are doing exactly what you want to do, who are where you want to be. And I’m sure that’s been said before, but I mean, I would not be talking to you right now. If I hadn’t connected with Matt Finch A while back I think I might have given up on fit recovered. You know, the basic stuff that I needed to know years ago when I was building it, like how to optimize my email list or, you know, do a lead magnet he helped me with, you know, he was my mentor. So, you know, that’s the business angle but from a recovery angle as well. I ended up it was a, it was a double gift, I guess you could say because he also became a mentor, someone who he quit. It didn’t matter to me that he’d quit opiates. But he had also started doing exactly what I wanted to do. And he was in recovery, or he had recovered. So it was a, I would say that finding someone identifying someone who is a role model, who’s what you want to be, either in business or in alcohol recovery and beyond, is the best thing. Because alcohol and I would, I haven’t been addicted to anything except alcohol. But I think addiction is a very confining state of existence, and it keeps you isolated, stuck in your head. If you stay stuck in your head for too long, you’ll go crazy. You won’t make progress. You might have delusions of grandeur, or I’ve been there with all of those things. I was in some very strange mental places during my drinking years, and there was definitely an absence of connection that That helped me after I quit tracking once I resolved it.
Awesome. And that’s great actionable advice, find someone who has what you want, and then just do what they do. It actually is that simple. And that’s one of the foundations, you know, 12 step recovery, you get a sponsor, and they show you. This is how I live life. And this is how I do laundry. And this is how I stay faithful to my wife. And this is how I do just all these basic human functions, and a lot of us aren’t capable, or don’t have experience in that. And so having a role model, in that sense, is absolutely incredible. And in business, you know, my first year, we did practically nothing in sales compared to where we’re at now. And it’s like, if I went back in time, six years ago, and I said, Hey, six years ago, Andrew who thinks he knows everything, here is what you really should be doing and do not waste your time on. ABC D. Like you said, content marketing in your space is very Very, very competitive. And if you’re not differentiating yourself, from all the competition, you can be doing the exact thing that everybody else is doing in people can no more than you’ve rank higher than you. And you’re fighting a winless battle when on the other side, email marketing, building your list having targeted marketing message that’s so much more effective. Especially if you’re building something where your brand is based on you and people know who you are. And all these things. I think that’s one of the greatest, greatest pieces of advice, not just in recovery, not just entrepreneurship, but just all around, find somebody who has what you want, and then just do what they do. Simple enough. like Chris, thank you so much for your time. Where can people find you online?
Andrew, thank you. This has been a lot of fun, and people can find me at the elevation recovery podcast. Which is available on iTunes and Spotify. And also you can go to elevationrecovery.com and check out our show. And if you’d like to find fit recovery, it is fit dash recovery. com. That’s my original website. And there you can learn more about my book drinking sex and online course and I have a bunch of free articles several hundred free articles on all topics ranging from exercise to nutrition to psychological strategies. And, you know, so that’s that’s about it.
Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being on the show. Guys. If you liked the show, be sure to rate and subscribe. Send either of us a message if you have more questions about sobriety about fitness about whatever it is, send us a message. Let us know what you liked what you didn’t like the whole gambit. We’re here to help and thank you so much, Chris. Have a great day.